Ambati Rayudu Mumbai Indians
Ambati Rayudu played a blinder of an innings to propel Mumbai Indians to a defendable total against the Rajasthan RoyalsVipin Pawar/IPL/Sportzpics

Sanju Samson finally played one of those IPL innings everyone has wanted to see this season, but the young wicketkeeper/batsman from Kerala could not quite see the Rajasthan Royals over the line against the Mumbai Indians in an edge-of-your-seats thriller at the Wankhede.

Samson, sent in at No.3, with RR chasing a massive target of 188, after MI finished their innings on 187/5, played some of those delectably delectable strokes to glide his way to 76 (46b, 7x4, 3x6), but that impeccable half-century was just not enough as the home team came away with an eight-run win.

The victory keeps MI very much in the hunt for a place in the playoffs, while RR's winless run has now gone to five matches, and they stay second, behind CSK, having played a couple of matches more.

With Ajinkya Rahane looking like he had forgotten how to hit the middle of the bat after those two rained out matches for the Royals, Samson and Shane Watson went about building a platform for the rest of the batsmen to be able to chase down the target, which they did well enough with a 41-run alliance.

Watson (28, 23b, 2x4, 2x6) was bowled by Jagadeesha Suchith in the first ball of the ninth over, leaving RR needing 117 in 11.5 overs. With Steven Smith (23, 20b, 2x4) walking in, though, you always felt the Rajasthan Royals were very much in the game, but the Australian yet again failed to weave his usual magic.

It just hasn't been Smith's IPL so far (well, at least by his lofty standards) and after wafting at thin air to three straight deliveries from Mitchell McClenaghan in over number 15, he finally succumbed to the same bowler.

McClenaghan (4-0-31-3) would then pick up the vital wicket of Samson in the 18th over, right after the right-hander had hit a couple of whopping sixes – the second one over extra cover worth the price of the ticket on its own – with Karun Nair following suit off the very next ball and Deepak Hooda a couple of deliveries later to as good as end the chase.

The Mumbai Indians only really took off once Ambati Rayudu found his IPL range in the final five overs, which, it must be said, has pretty much been the MI pattern of batting all season – fumble a little in the first 15 overs, and then go hell for leather in the final five.

This particular final-five-overs produced 67 runs, with Rayudu scoring the bulk of those in his boundary-filled innings of 53 (27b, 4x4, 3x6).

Before Rayudu went smash-bang, it was Lendl Simmons, dropped by Sanju Samson in just the second ball of the match off Tim Southee, and Parthiv Patel who gave MI a quick start, before Patel, inevitably fell.

Simmons (38, 31b, 4x4, 1x6) was not at his absolute best on the night, and even if there were a couple of those big shots off the West Indian's blade, that surprise-factor was far from its highest when he fell, albeit via a bad decision.

With the openers gone, the onus was on Rohit Sharma to play a big innings, while Unmukt Chand, yet again, failed to live up to the faith placed on him by the MI management. Rohit (27, 21b, 2x4, 1x6), though, could not quite work his usual IPL magic this time, despite getting a good start, leaving Rayudu and Kieron Pollard (24, 14b, 2x4, 1x6) to do it all, which they did pretty well with a 61-run partnership in under five overs.

Get the Mumbai Indians vs Rajasthan Royals Highlights HERE or HERE

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